The previous chapter introduced a new paradigm. Rather than a single monistic Material Realm, we suggested that it is more useful to view our Cosmos as consisting of at least 3 Interacting Realms of Existence. Yet there remains an unsettled dilemma. This fresh perspective contains some logical inconsistencies.
“Horrors!” “How uncouth, uncivilized!” A herd of sheep, the educated elite, whispers fearfully amongst themselves: “Utterly unacceptable.” “Smacks of Religion, if you ask me.” “Let’s reject this upstart out of hand.” “I’m certainly not going to look through his telescope (afraid of what I might see).” “Assuming we are all together.” “Let’s ignore or shun him.” “Hopefully he will get the message that he is not welcome here.” “May he just go away and leave us alone in our perfectly logical little world.” “Logical inconsistency!? Far too disturbing.”
Most unsettling is the logical inconsistency at the heart of the unresolved controversy surrounding the notion of choice. According to the deterministic mathematical logic of the prevalent Materialist Paradigm, Decision-making is an impossibility - an illusion. Yet Choice is a central feature of the mathematical logic of Living Matter’s Realm of Attention.
How do we resolve this controversy? Which is true? Which is false? Or could both propositions be true in their own Realm, but not in the other? This seemingly paradoxical resolution twists our brain – causing it go through contortions. How could something as central as Choice be both true and false simultaneously? How do we resolve this dilemma without resorting to paradox? A potentially fatal flaw or perhaps a logical necessity?
For centuries, there has been an ongoing controversy surrounding the relationship between Living and Non-living Matter. Is Life merely a special form of Matter? Or does Living Matter have something that sets it apart? More specifically, does Life have an immaterial component that includes choice?
The extreme Materialist Perspective (MP) holds that the Universe consists entirely of Matter and Energy – nothing else. The special features of living matter are merely emergent features of non-living matter. Similarly, water’s unique characteristics are thought to emerge from the hydrogen and atoms that it consists of. Under this mindset, Life is purely a function of Matter.
Life = ƒ (Matter)
Rather than a subset of Matter, Attention’s Math-Fact Matrix indicates that Life has an interactive relationship with Data Streams than includes Choice. Life’s ongoing dynamic monitor-adjust relationship with data streams sets it apart from exclusively material systems. From this fresh perspective, living behavior is a function of both Matter and Information. Diametrically opposed perspectives. Either Life has a relationship with Information or it doesn’t. Which tree bears more fruit?
Life = ƒ (Matter, Information)
The Materialist Perspective is based in a straightforward syllogism, whose logic is impeccable.
1) Logic of Material Dynamics ≈ Logic of Non-Living Matter
2) Life consists exclusively of Matter.
3) Therefore: Logic of Material Dynamics ≈ Logic of Living Matter
There are a few corollaries that are worth mentioning.
4) Material Dynamics is deterministic.
5) Therefore Living Matter behaves deterministically.
6) Choice is an illusion.
Again the syllogism’s logic is impeccable. If the assumptions are correct, then the conclusions are also correct. It seems safe to say that Materialists everywhere would agree with these statements. Indeed, academics continue to participate in spirited debates regarding the possibility of choice due to the airtight logic of these common syllogisms.
However, the Attention Matrix indicates that living matter regularly makes choices that, on the most basic level, facilitate the organism’s survival. These choices are based upon an interactive monitor and adjust relationship with data streams. Our common sense experience supports this perspective, as we presumably make an uncountable number of decisions all day long.
How do we resolve this logical conflict between the Material Syllogisms and the indications of the Attention Matrix? Choice or Determinism? Which perspective represents the true nature of reality?
Returning to the original Material Syllogism, the 1st Proposition is undeniably true. Material Dynamics reveals the precise mathematical laws that govern the Physical Universe. Modern technology stands as a mute testament to this truth. The mathematical logic is a virtually perfect match for the logic of Matter’s phenomenal network.
1) (Logic of Material Dynamics ≈ Logic of Non-Living Matter) = T
What about the 2nd Proposition? Scientists have made a virtual infinity of precise measurements regarding material behavior of all types, e.g. micro and macro, living and non-living. They have yet to find even the slightest discrepancy in the results predicted by their mathematical equations. They have yet to uncover any physical evidence on this basic level indicating the existence of anything at all besides our deterministic physical Universe. Further, choice is not a factor in the many equations that accurately predict material behavior to the minutest levels. From the purely physical perspective, the 2nd proposition is incontrovertibly true.
2) (Life consists exclusively of Matter.) = ?
Although there is an abundance of evidence indicating that it is true, it is not necessarily true that Life consists solely of Matter. Indeed many including this author believe that living matter has some special features that differentiate it from non-living matter. Although this is a controversial issue, let us assume the proposition is true for sake of the argument.
If the first two propositions are true, then the 3rd Proposition is necessarily true, as the syllogism is based in impeccable deductive logic. If the first syllogism is true, then the second syllogism is also true. If Matter behaves deterministically, then Life, which consists solely of Matter, should also behave deterministically. If the initial assumptions are true, then living choice is definitely an illusion.
Sometimes reasonable conclusions are wrong no matter how airtight the logic. Because of this potential error, the modern scientific method includes experiments that test and challenge seemingly strong hypotheses. When the data contradicts the conclusions, the assumptions must be examined carefully for flaws. This logical redundancy is essential for establishing validity.
Example: For millennia, the ancients, from the Greeks up to and including Copernicus, believed that the heavenly bodies moved in perfect circles at a consistent speed. Even Kepler believed this dogma and was dismayed when the merger of mathematics with empirical data contradicted the traditional mindset. Kepler’s Planetary Matrix indicated that the planets moved in ellipses instead of circles and at varying, rather than constant, velocities. This contradiction forced the scholars of the time to reexamine their assumptions regarding the nature of reality.
In similar fashion, although the Materialist Perspective, or even Paradigm, is based upon solid deductive reasoning, abundant evidence contradicts the conclusions. All day long humans are seemingly making choices. Religion, advertising, politics and parents are regularly attempting to influence our apparently conscious decisions. While it is certainly possible that choice is an illusion, Materialists must categorize human culture and their own behavior from waking to sleep as anomalies to maintain this absurd position. In short, they must ignore a massive data set associated with living systems.
Their denial of choice would have some plausibility if they could model human or any kind of living behavior with their mechanistic equations. Unfortunately for their position, Material Dynamics has had a miserable success rate with the intentional behavior of living systems. Not that they haven’t tried. Brilliant mathematicians and physicists have unsuccessfully attempted to match Material Logic with Living Logic since the early 20th century.
If Life is truly composed purely of Matter, why has this quest been a miserable flop? Why has Material Dynamics been helpless before an entire data set associated with human, even living, behavior? Why has this type of logic been unable to address a complex of actions associated with Choice & Attention? Why this impotence before an omnipresent feature of human existence, even living matter?
Of course, humans have the ability to rationalize any position, no matter how implausible. What is the rationalization of these esteemed university professors that deny the existence of Choice on logical grounds? The extreme fundamentalists, and there are a lot of them, maintain that the scientific community is on the verge of bridging the gap between living and non-living matter with 1) Quantum Mechanics, 2) Artificial Intelligence, 3) Brain scans, and/or 4) Take your Pick. The appropriate equations are out there just waiting to be discovered by a brilliant young scientist, a future Nobel Prize Laureate, to be sure.
We are tired of endlessly waiting for Godot. Rather than goosestep with the rest, let us take the opposite logical position. If the conclusions are false rather than true and the logic is impeccable; then one of the assumptions must be wrong (false). The first assumption of the Materialist Syllogism is unassailable. If the first is true and conclusion is false, then the second assumption must of necessity be false.
If 3rd Proposition = False
And 1st Assumption = True,
Then 2nd Assumption = False
Let us consider the implications of this possibility. If it is not true (false) that Life is composed entirely Matter, then Life must also have an immaterial component.
How could this proposition possibly be true considering the lack of material evidence? But we can reverse the question just as plausibly. How could this proposition possibly be false considering the abundance of behavioral evidence that can’t be accounted for by the material model?
A huge conundrum: Two sets of data suggest definitive conclusions that are contradictory. The material data set indicates that the Universe is deterministic, while the living data set indicates the possibility of Choice. Further material mathematics has not been able to account for the living data set. This inadequacy suggests that Life could have an immaterial component of some kind. How is it possible to resolve this logical discrepancy?
Obviously, the Material Realm and the Attention Realm have a major difference of opinion regarding Choice. Is Matter going to dominate Life? Bring her under his sway? Or must they agree to disagree? Happily coexisting and even interacting on equal grounds?
But you think they’ve got problems? The two Material Realms are not exactly what you would call compatible. The Molecular and Subatomic Realms have different components, different types of Physics, and are based upon contradictory assumptions about the nature of reality. Witness the extreme dichotomy between Molecular and Subatomic particles. Newtonian Dynamics describes the behavior of one, while Quantum Dynamics describes the behavior of the other. It seems that that our Physical Universe even requires a Mathematical Dualism.
Some might claim that the Material Dualism is even more extreme than that between Life and Matter, or if you prefer their traditional names – Mind and Body. At least, we can easily relate to the Realms of Molecules and Living Choice. Objects behave like normal everyday objects – moving continuously through space and time. And living systems regularly make deliberate decisions that enhance the chances of fulfilling individual potentials, including survival. We live and die within this so-called Mind-Body Duality. Strangely enough, some extreme rationalists still consider the second those realms illusory, as they deliberately write books denying the possibility of writing books. Go figure.
These are Ordinary Realms of Existence, especially as compared with the other half of the Material Realm - the Subatomic. The Subatomic Realm is seriously beyond understanding, except perhaps mathematically. There is no metaphor from the Ordinary Realms than can help us to better understand the bizarre goings on in this half of the Material Duality.
So-called particles pass in and out of existence in microseconds. They move backwards and forwards in time and even all directions simultaneously – discontinuously quantum fashion. No object or particle in the Ordinary Realms would be caught behaving like this.
In fact, the physics of the Molecular Realm is based upon the exact opposite assumptions. Rather than the bizarre counter-intuitive behavior of the Subatomics, the objects of the Molecular Realm are assumed to move continuously through space and time and in only one temporal direction – from the past to the present. Further although they might sometimes become transformed into another form in predictable ways, ordinary objects never move in and out of existence. They are regular fellows, not really comfortable with the magic acts of the Subatomics.
The assumptions of the Subatomic Realm are diametrically opposed to those of the Molecular Realm. It is hard to imagine how these diverse fellows get along at all. Maybe because they stick to their own neighborhoods for the most part – only interacting at the fringes.
The three Realms of Existence seem to be filled with logical contradictions. Horrors, paradox! That’s certainly unacceptable. How can we possibly resolve their differences – these disturbing inconsistencies? Can you recommend a good marriage counselor? Is one half of the duality right and the other half wrong? Or must they learn to live with their differences for the good of the children? Either celebrate diversity and embrace paradox, as it were; or go to the divorce court.
Should we throw the radical realms out on the streets to die because of their non-conforming behavior? Or should we instead send these non-conformists to counselors? Maybe a therapist can tame their aberrant behavior with the aim of helping them to better fit into civilized society. No more of this going backward and forward in time; this magical behavior doesn’t make any sense. And no more of this decision-making; this reflexive behavior throws off our equations.
But darn it! These electrons and photons seem to have a mind of their own. No matter how hard we try, they continue to be in two places at the same time. And more impossibly, these subatomics spontaneously imitate each other’s behavior (like identical twins) over astronomically long distances and without cell phones. This bizarre behavior was even disturbing to Einstein.
And living behavior!? Good Grief! Life is impossibly unpredictable despite our sophisticated mathematics. Sheesh! When will they ever listen to our good advice and conform to the upright behavior of our perfectly predictable molecular citizens?
How do we resolve these conflicts between our two Dualisms? Live and let live or the divorce court? Dividing up collective possessions will be a nightmare – and where will the kids live?
Better yet, we could pretend that half of the Mind-Body Duality doesn’t exist and somehow imagine that the two halves of the Material Duality are compatible. Denial is always an effective defense mechanism against cognitive dissonance. The unknown and paradoxical is always disturbing.
Or could there be a more mature and open–minded response to this logical dilemma that doesn’t involve breaking up the family or pretending that some members don’t exist? Perhaps the logician Gödel can shed some light in the darkness.
Physical scientists have established beyond a reasonable doubt that mathematics can accurately express the laws that govern the material world. These laws are capable of making deterministic real-world predictions regarding the behavior of inanimate Matter. Many intelligent people believe that Life consists exclusively of Matter and that therefore Living Behavior could also fall under the sway of a deterministic mathematics.
Scientific Fact: Deterministic Mathematics reveals all Material Behavior
Plausible Inference: Deterministic Mathematics reveals all Living Behavior
Is Living Behavior really subject to a deterministic mathematics? Must the Universe really be logically consistent? Rather than living in a strictly logical Universe, could we instead inhabit a paradoxical one?
At the beginning of the 20th century, all signs pointed to the notion that there is but one realm, the Material Realm. This realm is described in its entirety by one definitive and deterministic mathematical language. However, scientists began to uncover a new world in the interior of the atom. The observed phenomenon of this new Subatomic Realm could not be adequately described by the mathematical assumptions related to the traditional Molecular Realm. Describing this new realm required a different mathematical language with assumptions that appeared to be in direct conflict with traditional thinking.
The emerging evidence for this new realm of existence threatened the prevalent mindset that we inhabit a single, logically consistent Universe. Space and energy appear to be continuous (analog) in our everyday world of atoms, molecules and such. In contrast, space and energy are quantized (digital) for the invisible ‘particles’ that inhabit the interior of an atom. Molecular particles have a definitive location and momentum. Yet in the realm of Subatomic ‘particles’, it is impossible to simultaneously identify both the location and momentum (Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle).
Einstein was disturbed by the mathematical uncertainty associated with the Subatomic Realm. He expected the entire Universe to obey one logic – a single set of all-encompassing mathematical principles. He spent the final decades of his life in an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the many apparent logical contradictions between the Molecular and Subatomic Realms.
How do we answer this seemingly paradoxical situation? Is one version of reality true and the other false? How could they both be true?
In 1931, Kurt Gödel derived a logical proof that has a bearing on these questions. Gödel’s Theorem consists of a few complementary propositions that refer to logical, e.g. mathematical, systems.
1) If a system is logically consistent, then it must be incomplete, as there will always be logical propositions that exist outside that system – ones that can’t be evaluated within the system.
2) Logical consistency can only be proved by axioms that lay outside the system.
The theorem illustrates that the logic of an individual system can be internally consistent. Both the Molecular and Subatomic Realms seem to be unique yet logically consistent systems. Nevertheless, at least according to Gödel’s Theorem, both of these systems must be incomplete.
Molecular Realm = Logically consistent, yet incomplete, system
Subatomic Realm = Logically consistent, yet incomplete, system
While the two realms of existence interact, neither can adequately describe the other. The Molecular and Subatomic Realms have different components, e.g. atoms and molecules vs. electrons and photons. Further, the behavior of each realm is described by a unique type of mathematics, i.e. Newtonian Mechanics vs. Quantum Mechanics.
We can join the two logically consistent realms under a single all-inclusive roof. The Material Realm is the name we have chosen for this union of the Subatomic and Molecular Realms. However, the mathematical assumptions of these two systems are diametrically opposed. The mathematics of the Molecular Realm indicates that space is continuous, e.g. an atom’s motion is unbroken. In contrast, the mathematics of the Subatomic Realm indicates that space is quantized, e.g. an electron leaps from shell to shell.
Even though it consists of two logically consistent systems, the Material Realm as a whole is logically inconsistent.
Material Realm = Molecular Realm x Subatomic Realm
Material Realm = A logically inconsistent system
How do we resolve this paradoxical situation? Which interpretation of reality is correct? Is space continuous or is it quantized?
Gödel provides a way out of this dilemma – a means of understanding this bizarre state of affairs. According to his theorem, when a system is internally consistent, it inherently forfeits something. There will always be logical propositions that lie outside the system, which cannot be evaluated by the system.
For example, it is possible, even probable, that the logical conclusions of the Subatomic Realm cannot be evaluated by the Molecular Realm’s logically consistent system. And vice versa. In particular, the proposition that electrons jump through space in a quantized fashion cannot be evaluated by the logic of the Molecular Realm. It seems that the conclusions of one realm cannot be applied to the other. The necessary assumptions and logical implications of these potent mathematical systems are dependent upon and only applicable to their own particular Realm of Existence.
Due to its paradoxical nature, the Material Realm is essentially a mental construct whose main efficacy is descriptive. Rather than a single monist view of Matter, it is far more useful to view the Material world as consisting of two separate yet interactive Realms of Existence – the Subatomic and the Molecular. Rather than a polarity, the two realms form a duality; their differences are in kind, rather than degree. This dichotomy is represented in the following diagram.
Are the Material Realms of Existence the only logically consistent, yet incomplete systems? Probably not. Abundant evidence indicates that the Universe actually includes at least a third realm. In addition to the Subatomic and Molecular Realms, we suggest that there is a Living Realm of Attention.
The justifications for this hypothesis are straightforward. Each realm of existence consists of a unique phenomenal network. A unique physics (a system of dynamics) describes the particular interactions that occur within each realm. While consisting of differing components and mathematical laws, a similar dynamic architecture unites the three realms in a single set.
While the other two realms are inanimate, the Realm of Attention is unique in that it deals exclusively with living systems. The Material Realms do indeed have a role to play in explaining living behavior. For instance, living systems, like material systems, must obey the law of gravity. Yet limiting our explanation of living behavior to the physical laws of the universe will not provide a complete picture. To provide a more complete description of living behavior, the Attention Realm deserves a prominent place at the table.
While choice is impossible in the deterministic Material Realms, choice is a distinct feature of the Realm of Attention. How do we resolve this paradoxical situation?
As in our discussion of the two different mathematical approaches to the Material Realm, we find that once again Gödel comes to the rescue. We should not expect that one mathematical system can explain all of the important aspects of living reality. In fact, we are suggesting that there are at least three such systems.
As before, the logical conclusions and necessary assumptions of each Realm of Existence are realm dependent. The logic of the Attention Realm cannot be evaluated by the logic of the Material Realms and vice versa. In particular, there are propositions relating to a living system’s ability to choose that cannot be properly evaluated by an exclusive reliance on the logic of the Material Realms.
With the addition of living systems, the Universe seems to consist of at least three logically consistent Realms of Existence, i.e. Molecular, Subatomic, and Attention. Yet the necessary assumptions of each Realm are in direct conflict with each other.
Subatomic Particles ≠ Molecular Particles
Material Determinism ≠ Conscious Choice
This paradoxical situation exists because of our expectation that one logically consistent system can explain a complete ‘Uni-verse’ of behaviors. When in reality, we are better served by a ‘Poly-verse’ that blends the physics of three independent realms.
Due to its inherently paradoxical nature, the ‘Uni-verse’ is a mental construct that has problematic connotations. The term ‘Uni’-verse suggests that its totality can be boiled down to one mathematical language. With at least 3 unique physics and 3 unique phenomenal networks, the logical system of the totality is clearly not unified.
Due to differing mathematics and components, it is far more instructive to study each realm separately rather than attempting to seek unification. Rather than a single monistic view of the Universe, it is far more instructive to view the Subatomic, Molecular and Attention as distinct yet interactive Realms of Existence. We deem this tri-part system the Living Realm.
These three realms are mathematical in nature. And yet as we’ve shown, there are key assumptions within each realm that are logically inconsistent with key assumptions from the other two realms. Paradoxically, logical contradictions may very well be a necessary consequence of generating a more complete understanding of the Universe.
Demanding logical consistency from the whole (a complete system) limits the complexity of our potential explanations for living behavior. For instance, the belief in a single, exclusive Material Universe, while internally consistent, excludes a wide range of factors that might help explain how living matter makes choices. Should we ignore the obvious conscious, interactive relationship that Life has with information? Should we pretend that this nuanced relationship exists only as a biochemical phenomenon? Can a single universal explanation really capture the subtleties of living phenomenal reality?
Since it is inherently paradoxical, should we even refer to the whole as a Universe, since this term implies a type of unity? Rather than a logical Universe, a more fruitful conceptual model may be a paradoxical Polyverse.
Paradoxical Poly-verse = Interaction between Logical Realms of Existence
Poly-verse = Subatomic x Molecular x Attention
Parenthetically, there may be other realms of existence with their own unique mathematical principles. Further, there could be other realms that resist an exclusively mathematical explanation, for instance art and music. For the purposes of our own discussion, we focus our attempt on the justification for adding the Realm of Attention to the traditional Subatomic and Molecular Realms.